Belgium is perfect for a cycling holiday, although it isn’t as pancake flat as the Netherlands. The Flanders region in northern Belgium is fairly flat, but once you head down into Wallonia at the southern end of the country, there are plenty of rolling hills to give your legs a workout. However, before you get too excited about the thought of cycling across Belgium, you need to give some thought to actually transporting you and your bike to Belgium. Train tickets to Belgium are readily available at a decent price, but in order to carry a bicycle on the train, you have to plan your trip in advance.
Bike Transport Tips
It is pretty easy to take a bike on the train to Belgium, but policies vary on different trains. Your main route will involve taking the Eurostar from London St Pancras to Brussels, but thereafter you may wish to use local trains if your legs can’t cope with the thought of pedalling any more miles.
• Regional travel in the UK – In the first instance, unless you live a few miles from central London, you need to find a way of transporting your bike to St Pancras International. The rules vary between different train operators. Some services let you take your bike for free whereas others insist on charging for the privilege. There will also be limited bike places available. One general point worth remembering is that bikes are not allowed on trains during peak travel times. For more detailed bike reservation information, check with the individual train company.
• Eurostar to Belgium – Luckily for keen cyclists, Eurostar is more than happy to let bikes come too. You can take a bike on any Eurostar service for a cost of £30 each way. Once you have booked your train tickets to Belgium, have your booking reference handy and give the baggage line a call to reserve a spot on the train for your bike. Bike space aren’t unlimited, but unless there is a large contingent of cyclists heading to Belgium, you should be ok. If you want to send your bicycle ahead and not pre-book the service, send it as baggage for the same cost—just turn up at the station, book it in, and it will arrive within 24 hours. You can transport your bike for cheaper if you take it apart and send it in a bike bag.
• Local trains in Belgium – You are fine to take bikes on local train services in Belgium as long as you are not travelling during peak times. Bikes can be transported in one piece in a bicycle compartment, or as an item of luggage. A ‘bike card’ must be purchased. The fee will vary, but it is normally 5-15 Euros.
Ideas for Cycling Holidays in Belgium
There is no reason why you can’t just take your bike and explore the countryside at your leisure, but if you prefer a more regimented approach to sightseeing, why not book a guided cycling tour? There are several operators who organise cycling tours in Belgium for cyclists of all abilities, so make sure you check out the available options when you book train tickets to Belgium. Another idea is to explore the scenic Belgium waterways—the entire network is easily navigated on two wheels.
One final tip: unless you are 100% certain you can put your bike back together after dismantling it for transportation purposes, opt to take it in one piece as this will make life a lot easier.
Ana Aleksejeva is a huge fan of cycling, so she was thrilled to learn she could take her bike on a cycling holiday to Belgium. Ana and her friends bought train tickets to Belgium and then spent six days exploring the Ardennes region on two wheels and blogging about their experiences at night.
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